96pts Jeb Dunnuck
The 2016 Syrah Estate The Contender from this terrific estate checks in as 95% Syrah and 5% Marsanne that was mostly destemmed (there's 35% stems) and aged 18 months in barrel. Black raspberries, plums, toasted spice, ground pepper and decaying flower notes all emerge from this incredibly elegant, seamless Syrah that shines for its complexity, elegance, and richness. With plenty of tannins and impeccable balance, it's approachable today yet will keep for 10-15 years with no issues.
93pts Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2016 Syrah The Contender has an intriguing nose and palate, as it was co-fermented with Roussanne. The nose has the straightforwardness of Syrah, with bacon fat, black pepper, black fruit and river rocks. Medium to full-bodied in the mouth, the Roussanne component seems almost unnoticeable until it hits the palate, where the Roussanne gently puts the wine into focus with a softness on the mid-palate, taming the smoky tones and adding a soft complexity and waxy texture. The wine ends with a chewy and softly tannic finish that is long and lingering. 355 cases produced.
92pts Wine Enthusiast
Ecstatic aromas of firepit, flower, ember, dried tobacco, roasted coffee bean, smoked meat and earth lead to lighter-styled, focused fruit and savory flavors. It brings a mouthwatering palate that delights. The flavors carry on the long finish.
91pts Wine Spectator
Expressive, featuring floral raspberry, licorice and crushed stone accents that gain structure on the long finish.